A light agenda was dealt with by Castlegar City Council during the regular meeting of March 4th.
Councillors Russ Hearne and Dan Rye were absent.
Fall Fair support
A report from Coun. Deb McIntosh came with the recommendation that Council approve a $4,000 grant to the Pass Creek Regional Exhibition Society to help with the staging of the 18th running of the Pass Creek Fall Fair coming up in late September.
Financial support for the event over the past number of years has typically been in the neighbourhood of $2,000 to $2,500 but the increase this year was deemed appropriate given the increases in the cost of staging the fair.
McIntosh’s report outlined an annual price tag in excess of $35,000 with the added comment that the get-together rarely breaks even.
“They are having some issues with funding,” said Coun. McIntosh on the topic, “especially with on-site supervision.
“They’ve been around for 18 years, they’ve proven themselves time and time again that they’re a worthy group to help out. I think $4,000 for something that brings this much into the economy in September, that brings this much joy and family fun… why not support them?”
Five-year financial plan gets push
Bylaw 1172, the 2013-2017 financial plan bylaw, as per a report to council from Director of Finance Andre Buss, received second and third reading during the March 4 meeting.
Items featured prominently in the plan are provisions for $220,000 to be placed in the budget for 2017, the year in which provincial regulations require that a city-owned fire truck be replaced. The report also made reference to a February 18 public budget meeting at which a number of members of the public had called for the study of purchasing a new ladder truck (approximate cost: $750,000) capable of reaching to four storeys. Further discussion on such a purchase may be carried out in the 2014 budget cycle.
Sergeant invited to future meeting
Under the heading of public safety a brief discussion was held on the topic of certain events being held at the downtown Element Club and related police involvement.
A number of arrests had been made downtown on February 15. There was also an issue concerning triggered fire alarms, police overtime costs, etc. Council and the local RCMP detachment have had consultations regarding an upcoming event at the club. Said Coun. Sue Heaton- Sherstobitoff, “The RCMP has five members scheduled to work that night which has taken some of their staff off the day shift, which is concerning as well because they’re trying to fill the void there.” Heaton-Sherstobitoff said she hopes Sergeant Laurel Mathew can attend a meeting following this Friday’s Element show and give a related policing report to council.
Putting the best welcome forward
Council discussed and approved an engineering report suggesting a $25,000 outlay to “relocate, refurbish and un-clutter” the four existing Welcome to Castlegar signs.
Advice from tourism consultants has vouched for the value of appropriate signage. The report quotes a statement from a Roger Brooks in a tourism assessment report of 2006, that “You can’t become the destination if you can’t even get them to stop.”
New locations for the signs include the Hwy 3 entrance to the City from the west, closer to the city than the present location; the Hwy 3 cloverleaf in Ooteschenia; at the hairpin turn leading onto Columbia Avenue from the Robson Bridge; and southbound on Columbia Avenue between 28th and 27th Streets.
There was a moment of levity in regard to the civic signage during the public comment/question period toward the close of the meeting. Local resident Cord Lafond asked council the meaning of the “Full Service Community” addition to the welcome signs.
“We were asking each other that on the committee, laughed Coun. Chernoff. Nobody knew.” He assured Mr. Lafond the new signs won’t include that phrase.
Coun. Kevin Chernoff told the group of the plan to take the old ice resurfacing vehicle out of service at the Pioneer Arena, to be replaced by the current unit from the recreation complex, which is to be bumped by a new Zamboni.
“Something had to be done,” said Chernoff. “We looked at maybe going to an all-electric unit, keeping with the green theme, but the price difference was probably about $60,000 more, so we’ve stuck with a propane-powered unit.”
The councillor revealed that buying and taking delivery of a new Zamboni is a roughly 10-month process involving an outlay of $110,000.
A scissor-lift (to a maximum cost of $10,000) is another major asset that is to be added to the equipment at the complex.